Sermon: Kingly Wisdom, Part IV, Proverbs 6:17-19

People of God, we are going to look this morning into the final four sins that God despises. As we said last week, God is a God who views sins, and in particular, certain sins, as abominable. They are contrary to His nature and the nature of a redeemed people. Beyond that, Solomon speaks the words of the Spirit, and describes these sins in a unique way. He writes them to reflect the downward trend of sinful behavior. He is describing the anatomy of sin, and he describes sin beginning at the top with the eyes all the way down to the feet.

Arrogance, which is the sin of the haughty eyes is the top candidate for God’s hatred. Augustine defined pride as the creature’s refusal to submit to God. He also said that the first sin that overcame man will be the last sin he will overcome.[1] Next, he speaks of the lying tongue. One writer said that this refers to an “aggressive deceit intended to harm the other.”[2] This is the attempt to destroy someone’s reputation for the sake of feeling good about your own sins, or simply as a way of bringing down someone you despise.

Thirdly, Solomon says that God hates hands that shed innocent blood. There is a downward progression from the eyes to the hands. We can see that Solomon has creation and the fall of man in mind. The sin of the eyes and the sin of the tongue were sins that reflected the fall of man in the Garden. Adam and Eve did not submit to the authority of God, and their words proved their disloyalty to God. As a consequence, Cain kills Abel, which is the hands that shed innocent blood.[3] The first Adamic family established the model of unrighteousness. The final Adamic family, the family united to Jesus Christ, the Church, establishes the model of righteousness. This list does not represent us because we are not in Adam’s family, we are united to Jesus Christ, the final Adam.

Fourth on the list of sins that God hates is a heart that devises wicked plans. We saw this in chapter three, but Solomon places the heart at the center of the list. The eyes on top, but it always comes down to the heart; who you really are, what kind of person you are. From the heart flows the issues of life, and those issues may express deceit or delight. In this case, it is utter deceit. “It is the center that gives rise to all of a person’s physical and spiritual activity.”[4] These are just not random plans to bring evil into practice, but creative calculations. Matthew Henry writes: “The more there is of craft and management in sin the more it is an abomination to God.”[5] This person is crafty in his planning. He calculates his moves like a skilled chess player. He is not dubious about his purposes. Any biography of a serial-killer will reflect these characteristics. “Thou shalt not kill” culminates on the act of murder, but is preceded by the planning which begins in the heart. We can be guilty of violating this clear principle. How often do we meditate on the words of someone else against us? Suddenly we find ourselves thinking: “How can we strike back?” Then we begin to develop this detailed plan for striking back at our fellow brothers and sisters. My hope and prayer is that God would constantly interrupt our evil plans, and bring us to the acknowledgment of who we are in Christ Jesus and who we are in relationship to one another in the body. The most scandalous plan in occurred before the world began. God the Father planned the death of His own son. But yet His plan was perfect and just. He planned the death of His only Son, so that we would be cut to the heart when we plan evil in our hearts. Christ died to deliver us from devising evil plans against our fellow brothers. No matter how offended, how hurt, how magnificently damaged you have been in a relationship, God is the One who makes plans for the wicked, not you. You are to bring your grief to God first, and allow the discipline of the Christian Church to work as it should.  When you join a Church you are declaring to the world that the sins you commit against another needs to be dealt with before you eat bread and drink wine. For the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord, crush your deceitful plans and build plans of joy, fellowship and mutual encouragement.

Fifthly, Solomon says God hates  “feet that make haste to run to evil.”

The feet indicate that the whole person is moving towards evil, not slowly, but speedily. He is prideful, he lies, he sheds innocent blood, he is a master planner of evil, and now he wants to implement it carefully. He is zealous for its implementation. He has a “zest to follow the inner evil compulsion as soon as possible.”[6] Matthew Henry may have summarized this point and its implications more clearly than any other commentator in the history of the world:

The policy and vigilance, the eagerness and industry, of sinners, in their sinful pursuits, may shame us who go about that which is good so awkwardly and so coldly.[7]

Why is it so difficult to confront someone of their sins? But why is it so easy to gossip? Why is it so easy to run to sin, but so hard to run to righteousness? This is the tension we face as Christians regularly, and Solomon wants us to be driven away from evil not only because it is our duty, but also because God despises it.

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news, and by implication, how beautiful are the feet of those who live good news.

A word to our young ones here at Providence: As you are growing in this Church culture, a culture that many of us wished we had growing up, do not take for granted the constant call you receive to live faithfully to your God. In your life as you grow and mature, always consider the direction in life you are going. Are your feet, your actions heading towards peace with God and man, or are they they headed towards self-destruction? More practically, how is the gospel changing your life? How are you proving daily that you hate these sins as much as God does? These are questions you must ponder as you mature in your walk.

Sixthly, God hates         a false witness who breathes out lies. The vivid description through body parts is now abandoned, but it does not mean that these sins are divorced from one another. They are connected. Solomon is now drawing the troublemaker’s abhorrent… practices to a close.[8] The lying witness is one who consciously communicates what is false, against the truth. Man, though redeemed, craves to be like Adam. This tendency to hide the truth is why confession is so crucial for worship. Confession cleanses us for worship. It prepares us for what we are called to be: a cleansed and pure people. Our court system and our political systems have made a fortune from lying tongues and untruthful witnesses. We have lost the sense of why truth matters. We have handed over our dogma in exchange for the applause of the world. Truth matters. Truth is lasting. Truth redeems. Truth restores.

Notice also that this individual breathes out lies. He may have used lies to get ahead in life. He acts un-ant like. The ant works hard, but this person lies about his ability to work. He excuses himself from the necessary duties of a man by lying about his condition. The sluggard eventually ceases to tell the truth, because truth is too demanding. If I tell the truth, I will have to live up to the consequences of it. If I declare too boldly that Jesus is Lord that means that I might lose influence, friendships, and status. If I tell someone that adultery is evil, and that he or she needs to confess their sin to their spouse and to the body, then I will have to act as mediator.  Truth is demanding. This is why so many prefer to breathe lies.

Finally, Solomon says that God hates the one who unleashes conflicts, or as the ESV puts it: “…who sows discord among the brothers.” Why? Because God is a God of unity. This last verse can go in several directions. We can talk about the importance of Church unity, we can talk about the significance of Church discipline, we can talk about the destructive and sometimes subtle forms of divisiveness. These are all at the heart of this last sin. Jesus dedicates an entire prayer in John 17 to the unity of the Church. He prays that we would be one just as He and the Father are One. Unity is not an option. The Hebrew word for “brothers” can be narrowly defined as “among relatives.” Solomon may be pointing to disputes and divisions among family members. If Solomon is raising a King, the one thing biblically that comes in the way of a successful kingship are the problems in the royal family. It is easy to get along with someone outside your family, but the difficulty arises usually from within. These disputes can be unsettling and can cause great friction within a family, especially with relatives that share different views of the world as you do. I have often told visitors that we are a Reformed Church because our theology is rooted in the 16th century Reformation, but we are also an Evangelical Church because our theology is rooted in the Gospel. And the Gospel unites. It is true that it divides when necessary, but the purpose of the Gospel is to bring Christians together in One mission; the mission of the Kingdom of God.

The great Puritan Matthew Henry explains the seriousness of engaging oneself in divisiveness and discord:

The God of love and peace hates him that sows discord among brethren, for he delights in concord. Those that by tale-bearing and slandering, by carrying ill-natured stories, aggravating every thing that is said and done, and suggesting jealousies and evil assumptions, blow the coals of contention, are but preparing for themselves a fire of the same nature.[9]

There is a tremendous unity in this congregation. As your pastor I pray that this does not change as we grow, but rather than we would grow even more in our unity; that we would learn to cherish and not take for granted the love we have for one another; that the Lord’s Table would be every Sunday would be an even greater source of joy as we eat and drink together.

How Now Shall We Then Live?

Sometimes we need to be taken back to the basics of human sin. We have fallen short of the glory of God, but God has supplied for us in our sinful estate. Sin is contagious. It permeates everything. Sin is also communal. It belittles the fellowship. It belittles the people with whom you worship. Sometimes the people who cry Community the loudest are the first to say they need to be left alone when they sin. No, when these sins become a pattern in the lives of God’s people it will sooner or later be known. As Moses once wrote: “Be sure for your sin will find you out.”

“Six sins, no, seven sins are abominable to me,” says Yahweh. This is not to say that God only cares about these seven sins, rather that they represent a pattern that is inherent in those who do not desire the good of the Kingdom. And if these sins seem rather familiar in your daily walk, repent! Turn to Jesus for forgiveness, confess your sins to the one you have offended and sinned against, and strive by the grace of the gospel to overcome these sins.

Proverbs is a Book of wisdom. But wisdom demands that we conform ourselves to the mind of God. What God loves we love. What God hates we hate. So let Proverbs 6 be for us a continual reminder that sin is deceptive and that it begins to creep as subtly as the serpent in the Garden. And should the Spirit reveal these sins  to you may you act decisively and speedily to crush it just as the Son of Man crushed the head of evil.

 

In The Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


[2] Waltke, 347

[4] Bruce Waltke, 347

[5] Matthew Henry, Commentary on Proverbs 6.

[6] Waltke, 347.

[7] Heny.

[8] Ibid. 348

[9] Matthew Henry, Commentary on Proverbs.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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